Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

Gardening – Anyone Can do It – if –

One day years ago we had a patron come to our shop to pick up a giclee reproduction of one of Bill’s paintings.  They brought friends with them  — who were not the least bit interested in art —- but were very interested in gardens.  Thus —- they wanted to see my garden.

I didn’t think much about it — but walked back to the garden with them.  They asked me a lot of questions and finally they told me, ” Theresa, you’re a wealth of information!”

I remember thinking to myself — “It’s just gardening — anyone can do it.”

After starting TMG I altered my thinking just a tad.  Now I think —- “It’s just gardening — anyone can do it —- if they get away from all the hype and ‘marketing’.”

The other way I have altered my thinking is in the realization that I really do know a lot more than most gardeners.  That’s  because out of necessity I’ve tried lots of things over the years that go against the conventional way —- thus I have a lot more experience knowing what works and what doesn’t.

A Reader Comments

Sandra (friend and reader) told me in a comment this morning that her garden has doubled in productivity since she started reading TMG. (She found my site in February of 2012 — so that’s only one season of gardening and she’s already doubled her productivity!)

If you’re new to gardening like Laura (a new reader) — I want you to know that you can be just as much a success in gardening as Sandra is.

Sandra’s Key to Success

Sandra’s key to success was her willingness to see what she was doing wrong and then change.  Her eagerness to learn and then take action on what she learned is why her productivity doubled!

Gave Me Ideas for Future Posts

When I hear of my readers’ successes it makes me even more excited about my own garden.

I must confess that Sandra pushed me over the edge this morning with her great news about doubling her productivity.  All of a sudden, my brain was flooded with numerous ideas for future posts like

  • keeping strawberries disease free without buying new ones every 3 to 4 years;
  • why use the soil you have rather than purchased “soil”;
  • more information on onions;
  • review of new lettuce varieties;
  • how YOUR garden affects your child’s future
  •  “snack patches” in the garden
  • strategies for drastic situations
  • saving seed for crops specifically adapted to your garden

Final Thoughts

Let me know if you’d like me to write posts on certain topics.

I hope you are as excited as I am about the coming season!  I’m working on it being the best ever!


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and its a lot healthier.


All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved.


  • Theresa, I’m looking forward to this upcoming gardening year with you. And yes, I’m excited about it too. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Fondly, Sandra

  • Theresa- Would really like to hear your thoughts on the strawberries. I just ordered 75 (25 each of early- mid- and late-season) to be planted this spring, after prepping the soil for a couple of years. Enjoying your posts. Rob

  • Theresa,
    I just had to tell you-I just picked about a gallon of Brussels sprouts yesterday. I planted 4 plants in Sept.(I think)and they did not produce before cold weather but I just left them. I have been picking all winter and have even cooked some of the leaves when I thought the sprouts would never grow. They are delicious and such a treat this time of the year.
    I have some spinach, kale and collards still in the garden and I snack on them when I go to the barn because it is nearby.
    Thanks for all of your encouragement.

  • Snack Patches! That sounds wonderful! Thanks for all that you do, Theresa! I’ve also had amazing benefits in my garden thanks to you and TMG. All of those topics look great!

  • Hi Theresa, Congrats to Sandra on a successful garden last year. I have to chime in and say that I too have experienced positive results since starting to read TMG. My garden is a fun place to watch for results instead of dreading the hard work ahead of me. (However the work is still there). By eliminating “fluff” and unnecessary hype I have more time for enjoyment.

    Something that I did last year and I hope to expand this year is “companion planting”. I use fresh herbs in my cooking and planted them throughout the garden last year. If I found a bare spot between next to a pepper plant I stuck a parsley plant in the ground. Also did the same with basil, garlic, cilantro, cutting celery, dill and whatever else I had started from seed. I had a list of what plants were supposed to benefit another plant, but did not always follow it. I tried to remember which herbs were supposedly harmful to other plants. I don’t know if I can contribute it to the inter planting of herbs, but I did not have any tomato horn worms except in an area I did not plant dill with the tomatoes and very few bug problems until late in the season when the aphids start. What are your feelings about “companion planting”?

  • Hi Rob,

    Sounds like you’re going to have fantastic strawberries. You certainly did the right thing to prep your soil well — because they thrive on good soil.

    I’d be interested in knowing the varieties you planted if you have time to post them.

    I definitely will do another post on strawberries within the next month or so. I have quite a bit more I’d like to say about them — although I’ve written several posts already. Here are the links.





    Make a note to treat yourself to a strawberry salad during the season. It’s unbelievably delicious!

    No garden is complete without strawberries — so congratulations on getting some.

    I’ll put the post up as soon as I can get to write it. Thanks for the request. That helps me to know what’s needed.


  • Hi Beppy —
    A gallon of Brussel sprouts the first of February! WOW! I”m so impressed!
    Straight from your own garden is the only way Brussel sprouts are good in my opinion.

    A special congratulations on leaving them in the garden. One of the biggest mistakes folks make is to pull up things too quickly. Plants will make every effort to produce if given the chance — as you and I have seen first hand!

    It’s always a special treat to hear from you Beppy. So glad you are still reading. Thanks so much for the great news about the sprouts!


  • Hi Bearfoot Mama —
    I just knew you’d like that “Snack Patches”. I’ll get to the post as soon as I can.
    Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know your thoughts.

  • Hi Alice,

    I have always practiced companion planting to one degree or the other. It certainly can’t hurt.

    I will put it on the list to write about and elaborate more on what I do.

    In the interim — keep doing what you’re doing and keep me posted on what you feel the results are. It’s so interesting.

    Everything in nature works together — so plants definitely effect each other.

    I especially enjoyed the bit about dill and tomato. That is definitely worth trying!

    Thanks Alice!

    P.S. Hope some of your snow has melted!

  • It works both ways Sandra! Irons sharpens iron. And you have certainly added to my joy and enthusiasm for gardening! THANK YOU!

  • Theresa- I have ordered Earliglow, Allstar, and Sparkle. Those were some of the cultivars suggested by the County Extension office, and I wanted to try to cover early, mid, & late season. They are due to ship around the middle of March from Nourse Farms, MA. I have also read that the strawberry plants do well interplanted with spinach, so will try that as well. Thanks for the links, I read them all. Lots of help there. Thanks again for providing the blog & sharing your experience. Greatly appreciated.


  • Thanks for taking time to share the varieties you ordered Rob. I’ve had them all and they’re all good.
    You will adore Earliglow! It is the sweetest and one you think of when you want to just pick and eat. Melt in your mouth sweet strawberry flavor.
    The birds beat me to the biggest ones most of the time. 🙁

    Good idea about the spinach — especially the first year when there’s more room between the plants.
    By the time the strawberries really start putting out runners the spinach will be long gone.

    Glad you found the links helpful Rob.

  • Re Chia seeds

    I recently had a sample of a “candy Bar” made from Chia seeds. I always thought this was a joke because of the “Chia Pet” advertised on TV. I understand they are grown in South America, and are very good for you.

    Can they be grown in our area ( Richmond Va)? The main reason for my question is I do not want end up with something like bamboo or Kudzu that I can’t get rid of…


  • Jack, I’ve never grown chia — but I don’t think it’s invasive.
    Its native climate is the American Southwest and Northern Mexico — so I don’t know if it would do well here on the east coast or not.

    Chia has been around a long time and was used by the Indians to sustain themselves on long journeys away from camp. A small handful of seed is said to be able to sustain someone for 24 hours.

    I thought it interesting too when I read that laying hens that consume up to 30% of their food as chia lay eggs with a ratio of saturated to polyunsaturated fats that is half normal eggs.

    Here’s a terrific article you might want to read http://permaculturenews.org/2009/04/06/chia-crop-potential-and-uses/ And be sure to read the comments as it tells about planting and growing chia.


  • Looking forward to reading the post about children and the garden. Besides my own personal interest and curiosity (and my LOVE of fresh garden veggies), my kids were one of the biggest reasons I got into growing food organically. They are still very young, but we learn together every season and my hope is that one day when they are out on their own (sadly, when home gardening will probably be something very rare… though let’s hope not), that they will have the experience and know-how to completely sustain themselves from a garden. In other words, I’m trying to “sow the seed”, pun intended! 🙂

    My plan is that one day, when we own a home and enough land, to also raise chickens, goats, you name it, and rarely have to purchase eggs, milk, cheese, etc. ever again! Big goal, I know, but I’m determined. A lady I used to work with told me once that I was born in the wrong century… My reply was that I was born in exactly the right one because these things need to make a major comeback!

    As for my kids, their second home is the garden… They live everything about it and next year, I am going to give them their own plot rather than just their own few containers. They are super excited about the prospect of being in charge if their own entire bed!

    They’ve also become quite the “veggie snobs” and nearly refuse to eat any vegetable that isn’t home-grown. lol Which is ok by me. My son used to despise nearly all veggies, but he will eat just about anything out of the garden now, especially if its something that he’s grown himself! I think I’ll have to sneak out this year early in the morning before they wake up just to be able to snack on some cherry tomatoes, cukes, or peppers! lol

Leave a Comment